Fall Break 2020

Our Fall Break excursion was a nostalgic “re-creation” of our Fall Break in 2012: Ellijay, Georgia and Burt’s Pumpkin Farm.

Hillcrest Orchards   (click for link) is perfect for families with children under 8 who want to pick their own apples then have some fun. Picking apples could be fun for children of all ages, but the playgrounds and activities are designed for younger family members. Carter and Ammon, as well as Sean and I, still had fun, but they could not “get our money’s worth” out of the playgrounds. The petting zoo was great, and the tractor ride was great. They have a mechanical, gargantuan catfish named Jaws who spits water from a pond. Jaws caught me off guard, and I forgot to snap his pic.

Hillcrest Orchards October 15, 2020-Thursday

Ellijay Scarecrow Invasion: Harrison Park-2020 instead of Downtown like 2012

Burt’s Pumpkin Farm : October 2012

Ammon & Carter amongst the Pumpkins: October 10, 2012

Burt’s Pumpkin Farm: October 2020

If we return to Burt’s next year, I plan to go in September to buy pumpkins for decorations. Just photos, some pumpkin bread, and an enjoyable hay ride this year.

Before: 2012/After: 2020

Judy: The Blackberry Picking German Shepherd

shallow focus photography of berries

Photo by Thierry Fillieul on Pexels.com

 

 

Blackberry picking is a summer ritual for me just as catching lightening bugs, catching June bugs and sometimes trying to fly them on a string, listening to the katydids, and sitting somewhere under shelter while listening to a summer thunderstorm. I was mowing several weeks ago, and I hopped off the tractor to move a garden hose. Near our swimming pool fence where the hose lay were some blackberry bushes. I picked a blackberry, ate it,  and with its taste came 50 years of beautiful blackberry memories: Evenings when the whole family picked blackberries together, homemade blackberry cobblers, and my bud, Judy.

I love dogs, and I cannot remember life without them. My pet dogs are a part of my essence, and all of them hold a special place in my heart. I am not done with living yet, so I cannot say that Judy was .. THE ONE… that ONE CANINE SOUL MATE…. But she comes pretty close. Judy had many talents and gifts. Lord willing, I will expand on some of them in future blog entries, but this entry is dedicated to Judy the German Shepherd and her blackberry picking abilities.

 

Judy_Haven

Judy & Haven: July 1986

 

Have you ever had a dog that could/would pick any berry: strawberry, blackberry, blueberry (kinda high off the ground I reckon), a muscadine, or a grape? Well, my Judy would blackberry pick with me. I have no idea when she started nor do I have any recollection of her watching me. However, my Judy surprised me one summer evening while I was strolling through our yard.  On the edge our yard near a pine grove, there were some blackberry brambles (bushes). In case you are reading from another area of the United States or the world, the OVERWHELMING majority of our blackberry bushes grow on thorny stalks/brambles. As a blackberry grows on its bramble, it begins as green, then turns red, then turns “black” (deep purple). When it is black it is ready to pick and eat. Well, Judy had been walking by my side, and she stopped to watch me inspect and eat some blackberries. When I finished, she took her turn at finding a blackberry to eat. She sniffed, inspected the remaining, unripe, red blackberries, sniffed again, then ever so delicately (remember there are thorns everywhere) nibbled off a ripe blackberry. After she swallowed, she nipped another berry. I laughed, knelt down, and gave my girl a big ‘ol hug. “You stinker! You sure are smart!” , I said… and yes, she was very intelligent. That was all she wanted that evening. She would eat blackberries with me in later years, and it always amazed me.

Friends and family, I love it when you post your comments in response to my blog entries both here and on other social media. Please share the summer antics of a special member of your fur family: Either past or present. We need some heart-warming stories to make us smile this summer of 2020 and post some pics if you can.

blacberry-2020

July 8, 2020: While picking some blackberries for a smoothie, I snapped this pic in memory of Judy. 

Auschwitz: Eradicating History (Part I)

Oświęcim is located outside of Krakow. It was the site of a Nazi Concentration-Extermination Camp. Over 1.1 million people, 1 million Jews, died there. The Caylor-Browns spent the afternoon of July 5, 2019 in this hallowed and somber locale in the Polish countryside. In 2019, you would… wait, what? You’ve never heard of this Nazi camp? Wait a second. Do I have the correct place? Well, yes, I do …. I guess perhaps you don’t know that the German Nazis enjoyed changing names of places as mental subjugation to those they conquered. It’s to subdue people into forgetting who they were. It was a way of erasing their existence: art, music, history, literature, the name of a town, their language …. You name it. Oświęcim is the Polish name for Auschwitz. The German Nazis renamed Oświęcim to Auschwitz.

Birkenau_Auschwitz

I have to divide up The Caylor-Brown Polish Experience 2019 into two parts. It’s the best way to do Auschwitz and the importance of memorials justice.

Auschwitz

Birkenau Extermination Camp July 5, 2019

 

Several countries, Russia, Austria, and Germany (Nazis) have tried to erase Poland from the world: Literally. When people do this, they eradicate art (sculptures, STATUES), literature, music, and language. They wish to ERASE your identity …. your heritage. While we were at the Schindler Museum I took a photo of a photo where Nazis were toppling a provincial / national Polish statue attempting to erase history. Folks, since the dawn of civilization, groups have done unnecessary sometimes horrific atrocities. No person, city, state, nation, or empire is blameless. That doesn’t mean we erase the art, literature, and heritage from the past. Madame Marie Curie was born in Warsaw. Her birth home is now a museum which we toured. Poland / Warsaw was under the rule of the Russian Empire. When she was born in Warsaw in 1867, it was AGAINST THE LAW for her to read or write in Polish: Her family’s native language! How ridiculous , right? Who wants to erase languages in 2020? Y’all this rhetoric of deleting history and the social upheaval is happening right now here in 2020 in the United States. My birth-town, Dalton, Georgia is fighting to keep a statue of Confederate General Johnston who saved Dalton from being burned to the ground by General Sherman from being moved. As with the Nazis, appeasement is never the answer. It leads to removal/eradication.

Krakow-statue

Nazis remove history in Krakow.

Johnston

General Johnston’s statue in Dalton, GA

 

However, we know it’s just not in Dalton. It’s all around this country. We are the UNITED States of America, yet, since 2008, there has been an unfortunate movement to divide us. Get rid of George Washington, Elihu Yale, Christopher Columbus, Cervantes (once a slave to the Turks), Robert E. Lee!  Once again, a group of people trying to change/control another group of people to give up their existence isn’t new.

Allow me to use a one-sided,  abridged yet TRUTHFUL (proven time after time in history) monologue of how groups of people have controlled people during the past 100 years.  I could use Russians to Poles in 1800, but that is too distant from my understanding. However, I am using 20th Century Poland and the Nazis in Europe.  I have listened to and researched primary sources who lived through the Nazi time:  my grandparents, my Nanny who saw actual photographs of people wheeling the bodies of exterminated Jews in wheel barrows, I walked through Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam, I actually heard live and in person, Eva Schloss, Anne Frank’s step sister, tell of the atrocities of Nazi extermination camps, I have trod the grounds of the infamous Auschwitz, and I have read the stories of Polish people from Warsaw, Gdansk, and Krakow Poland who experienced the horrors of intended extinction.

Nazis to Jews & yes, the Polish people as well:

You are not worth anything. You are the reason for our problems. We are better than you. You need to bow down to us. Everything you have erected as a group of people must be taken down. Surrender your armaments. You need to surrender your businesses. You need to surrender your riches. You need to surrender your freedom. You need to surrender your homes. We will provide you a home in certain areas. You try to escape from this area and you will be killed. We are taking you from this guarded area to a place where you can live at peace (a lie… concentration / extermination camps)…

FINAL INTENT: 
Continue reading

Correct Alexander Dates

My Great Grandparents buried in Varnell, Georgia

My Great Grandparents buried in Varnell, Georgia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to the Hartsfield Family Bible, The Atlanta Journal -June 29, 1935, and The Dalton Citizen News the week of May 9, 1945, the stone should read:

William Oliver Alexander : May 15, 1875-June 29, 1935

Sarah Maro Cox Alexander: September 26, 1886- May 9, 1945

These great-grandparents are paternal, and it goes next to Mary Naomi Alexander Caylor (May 15, 1918-August 10, 1985), to Oliver Haven Caylor (September 19, 1939-May 28, 1982) to me, Haven William Caylor-Brown (May 7, 1966-present).

 

 

Cousin Linda/Daddy’s Birthday

Daddy’s Birthday

Once again, thanks to Facebook, I’ve been able to meet a family member and do some good chatting…both online and phone. My 2nd cousin’s name is Linda Kirk. She is 8 years younger than my father, but she spent A LOT of time with Daddy, Nanny, & Granddaddy.

It’s such a treat to hear her perspective of Varnell, Georgia during the 1950s with my father. My father had a wonderful (no, nothing is ever perfect as we all know) childhood with Linda, her mother, Madeline, her father, Charles, and Linda’s brother, David. As has been told by Nanny Caylor and Linda, there was hardly a weekend that went by (for years and years mind you)  when the Caylors and the Kirks were not together.

Well, today is Daddy’s birthday (he would have been 73), and I know that Linda is like me and filled with wonderful memories of a wonderful man, my father. However, I’m envious of her because she got to know him as her “big brother” cousin who knew each other as human beings so to speak. Knowing my father as a human being was something I only got to know for a little while, and it was still that “friendship/father” relationship.  Linda and I each have our own set of blessings that came from knowing Oliver Haven Caylor….cousin to her…father to me. Happy birthday, Daddy!

Daddy would be 73 today!!

Carter & Ammon: Laughter Memories (Haven & Nanny)

Ammon's Irises

Carter & Ammon

Carter and Ammon
Okay, to begin with, I don’t have a bath picture of Carter and Ammon.
Ammon picked me some irises Saturday evening then Sean gave both Carter and Ammon a bath. During the bath, I stayed in the kitchen (some 40 feet away from the bathroom but with CLEAR ear shot) to do some cleaning. It wasn’t exactly the conversations that were clear and enjoyable but the laughter. I just had to stop and enclose the moment in my “Carter and Ammon treasure chest” that is in my heart.
My Nanny Caylor and I were parents at two different times in life: I became a parent at 42, and my Nanny became a parent at 21. However, when the laughter started I had a flashback of my Nanny telling a story about my father and his younger brother when she was a young parent. In 1944, Nanny, Granddaddy, my father, and uncle were in Brunswick, Georgia where Granddaddy was working in the shipyards to fulfill the government’s requests to keep Granddaddy working for the government without being drafted. They were living in “modern” apartments with showers: running water and showers were not a part of their house built in 1867 back in good ol’ Varnell, Georgia. Nanny was telling me the story in her kitchen about a year after my father, her son had died. It was probably the autumn of 1983. We were talking about modern conveniences, and she was telling about how modern the Brunswick apartments felt in 1944. Daddy and his brother were at the ages of like 5 and almost 2 in 1944, and they would play in the shower for fun and entertainment. That day in Nanny’s kitchen she had a flood of memories, and she said, “I can just hear them playing and laughing in the water now.” It had only been a year since the death of her eldest son, and we were all still grieving. She was standing at the stove, stopped, and tears began to fall down her cheeks. Missing my father, I got weepy as well. There was no wailing, but we had a brief cry then continued with our evening.
Last Saturday night, I became “misty-eyed” again thinking about my love for my father and my grandmother and shed a tear of happiness for having my Carter and Ammon. Since their births, their laughter has become my most favorite sound on earth.

Daddy’s Birthday (September 19, 1939)

He was born in Varnell, Georgia on Tuesday September 19,
1939. He was the first of only two children born to Troy and Naomi Caylor. He was
born at his Nanny Alexander’s house (Nanny, Granddaddy, and Daddy lived with
Nanny Alexander until January of 1941). I forgot the name of Daddy’s doctor,
but Nanny Alexander was in the room when Daddy was born. During the whole
pregnancy, Nanny knew in her heart and prayers that she was going to have a
girl. She had grown up with two younger sisters and was surrounded by girly
things for so long, she just knew she was having a girl…God had a surprise!

When Nanny woke up from the anesthesia and learned she had a
boy, she had a split second of disappointment. She even had Daddy’s name picked
out as Hannah Rebekah (both from the Bible); however, when she heard the news,
she, of course, had to give up all of her plans. Knowing Nanny the way my Nanny
Alexander and Granddaddy did, they knew she wouldn’t mind if THEY named him (I’m
serious. They knew she wouldn’t mind, and she didn’t). While Nanny was sleeping and Nanny Alexander and Granddaddy gave Daddy his first bath, they named him Oliver Haven Caylor: Oliver from Nanny’s father, William Oliver Alexander, and Haven from
Granddaddy’s father, Luther Haven Caylor.

I could keep writing and writing about Daddy, but emotionally it’s kind of
difficult, so I will say just one more thing. From 1979 until his death on May
28, 1982, my father and I shared a multiplicity of wonderful times together. My
favorite times that I have stored in my heart were when he and I traveled back
and forth to church together and discussed the Lord, the Bible, school, life in general, and Coonhounds. It was such a wonderful and fulfilling experience having Daddy
as both my earthly father AND brother in Jesus Christ. That precious bond is
something that death and time cannot erase. Happy Birthday in heaven, Daddy.

Granddaddy/Grandmaw Stone

September 10th (yesterday) would have been my
granddaddy’s 94th birthday. Once again, his name was Troy Dewitt
Caylor. He was born on September 10, 1917, and he died on March 29, 1979. He
was one of those grandfathers that could almost be an ideal cliché: He smoked a
pipe, he could do carpentry, was an excellent farmer, loved yard work, could
fix anything that had an engine, could make crafts and holiday sceneries, and
most of all, he loved his family. I was almost 13 when he died, but I have so
many cherished memories of that man. I loved him dearly, and he loved me. As I
have said before, he showed all of his grandchildren so much love. I have
someone else to add to my “Happy Birthday” to Granddaddy message. I simply know
her as Grandmaw Stone.

My granddaddy’s
family was hit hard by the Spanish Flu of 1918. Granddaddy’s parents and four
siblings were gravely ill, and, unfortunately, one of his older sisters, Billie,
died. The family lived in Varnell, Georgia. Granddaddy’s grandparents, the
Caylors, lived there as well. However, afraid of the flu themselves, they did
not enter my grandfather’s house for fear of catching the dreaded disease. They
would bring food and supplies to the house, but simply leave it all on the
porch and return home. Grandmaw Stone did not live in Varnell. She lived in
Chattanooga, Tennessee. She was Granddaddy’s step-grandmother. My great-grandmother Mattie Stone Caylor’s mother had died when she was a young girl, and her father remarried the woman of whom I am writing, Grandmaw Stone. Well, the family was “falling by the way-side”: They were all sick, and Billie had died. Enter Grandmaw Stone: A woman of faith, courage, and love of family.
She had other children and grandchildren
to worry about, but she left her “disease-free” home in Chattanooga, took the
train to Varnell, and walked right through the front door of my Granddaddy’s
house. She took over! She nursed my great-grandparents and Granddaddy’s three
surviving, older siblings, cooked food, cleaned the house, and started the
laundry. When everything had calmed down, she found my Granddaddy who had been “tucked away and forgotten” basically resting peacefully in his crib without, praise be
to God, the flu. She picked him up, changed his soiled clothes, and fed that
boy. She told my Nanny Caylor years later, “That boy was just about starved to death!”

My Nanny and Granddaddy were married in 1938, and I know
Grandmaw Stone was still alive then. My Nanny loved her! Nanny said she was so
kind, loving, and had lots of pep for a lady her age. Nanny said one thing
Grandmaw Stone always said for the years left that she knew her was that when
she saw Granddaddy, she said, “There’s my boy!” She had several other grandsons
and nephews, but no one else was “her boy” but Granddaddy because of that bond
they shared. So, thank you, God, again, for Granddaddy, and thank you for Grandmaw
Stone . Oh, my, the admiration and love I have for Grandmaw Stone, and she died
many, many years before I was born.

Nanny Caylor: Birthday

Nanny Caylor

Her full name was Mary Naomi Alexander Caylor.  She was born May 15, 1918. May 15 was also her father’s birthday who was born in 1875. She was born in Smyrna, Georgia, but she grew up in Atlanta. Her father worked for Southern Railroad as an engineer, and he was killed outside the tunnel at Braswell Mountain near Rockmart, Georgia when his train exploded in June of 1935. Nanny, her mother, and sisters moved to Varnell, Georgia where her mother (My Nanny Alexander) was born and raised in January of 1936.

Two years later, she married my grandfather, Troy Dewitt Caylor, and 10 months later my father, Oliver Haven Caylor was born. Their second son was born in January of 1943. She outlived her parents, her sisters, her husband, and my father. There was a part of her soul that was like Naomi from the Bible especially when Biblical Naomi told the people to call her Mara which meant “God has dealt bitterly with me.” However, she leaned on Jesus Christ as her strength and her redeemer and never forsook him. She was a great mother, a spectacular grandmother, an exemplary Christian lady, and a great friend to me.

She was my Bible study confidant, and we loved to talk about world traveling and world events. We also shared good short stories, classical literature, and she was a walking treasure trove of family, oral history. I could listen to her talk about our ancestors and her childhood forever. Literally, we could sit up until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. simply looking at pictures, family Bibles, or family heirlooms. We had to make ourselves go to bed. When my father died in 1982, she and I leaned on each other in our bereavement. I was so glad God let me have her for three more years. Nanny died on August 10, 1985. She has been dead for over 25 years now, and I still dearly miss her. It is also a treat when I dream about her and her house, but, of course, a part of my heart is lonesome when I awake and she is only, once again, in my memory and in those dreams.

I cannot wait to share all these things plus tons more with Carter and Ammon. Nanny will live on through them. Happy Birthday up there in Heaven, Nanny. We love you!

Mary Naomi Alexander Caylor (Photo Date: March 1982)

Headed to Mamaw’s

Because of major time needed to pack/throw things away, Carter and Ammon are headed to my mother’s house for the day. They LOVE going to Mamaw’s house. Carter especially will ask several times a week while we are playing,  “We go Mamaw’s house?”. I kinda feel the same way. The house is where I grew up in Varnell, Georgia. This June will make Mamaw’s 40th year living there. I could write and write about Mamaw, but all I am going to say today is that she is one of my heroes in life: wonderful wife, devoted daughter to her parents, awesome mother, spectacular grandmother to her four grandchildren and one great-grandchild, breast cancer survivor, and so much more. Mamaw, we love you!

Mamaw, Ammon, Carter, & Sophie July 2010